2 ladies by sea
  • 20 April 2022

My Open Water Swimming Journey

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Caroline DrakeOpen Water Swimmer

My open water swimming journey began in June 2020: with a too tight wetsuit (it must have shrunk in lockdown!) in a managed lake with a friend. I’d tried swimming outdoors before but really hated it: the restriction of my wetsuit and of course, the cold water…

We swam at the lake every week in the summer in our costumes, our numbers growing as friends of friends joined us but then in September they started dropping away with promises to join us next spring. My friend and I both agreed to keep going week by week and suddenly it was November.

Open water swimming in lakes and the sea taught us so much about wild swimming and ourselves. Safety comes first so we always take a tow float and bright hat, never swim alone, know our limits and are honest about how we’re feeling (susceptibility to cold water can vary so much).

So what difference has it made to us?

  • Mental health is often mentioned and I’ve found it really does improve.
  • As older women, we’re getting slower at any activity, but here’s something we can do better than the young ‘uns!
  • Selfies in swimming costumes improves your body confidence: our bodies are a celebration of a life well lived, children and lots of cake.
  • Improved confidence in everyday life. I’m terrified of heights but if I can jump into a cold sea on a frosty morning I can go down an escalator…
  • We’ve cemented fantastic friendships and learned more about each other than we would just going out socially.

We’re still swimming every week and have laughed, screamed and thrashed out problems so they’ve shrunk in size and laughed some more. People stopped and photographed us on our Christmas Day swim, we’ve swum for full moons that were hidden by clouds and eaten lots of lovely cake.

What’s stopping you? You could start swimming now, and like us, just keep on going……

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